I spent 8 years active duty in the US Army and even then, I had challenges. Pushups are still my kryptonite. Shortly after I left the Army in 2003, man did I pack them on. Looking back, I think 2010 was the heaviest I ever was. I’m sure I was probably pushing 290 or more. I didn’t weigh myself, I just bought bigger shirts. This black sweater (also, that’s my smoking hot wife!) was a 2XLT from a big & tall shop. It was stretched out and I’m sucking it in. I’m still a big dude, but I’m trying to get faster. Let’s go Clydesdales!
Around that time, my wife and I met Heidi Kriss. What an inspiration she was and so nice. Later, we met the Mowbray family and Doug was telling me about some of the races he was going to do. It blew my mind thinking of the events they were training for! I was one of those head shakers, but that seed stuck with me.
Eventually, I started losing weight through a LCHF type diet. I started feeling a little better about myself and decided to start running. Running was freedom. On the road with music in, there are no bills, no job, no stress and it’s all mine. It doesn’t cost anything, it’s not weather dependent and the road is always there. That feeling, about mile and a half in when your breathing settles, you find your rhythm and just cruise was such a draw. I signed up for the Orting 10k on a whim and then competition came into my running life.
I forget exactly when or how I decided on going for a Tri, but I know it for sure happened because of the amazing folks I know from the community. Ron Torrez is a fantastic running mentor and friend, Phil and Heidi Kriss, Doug Mowbray, Stuart Ayling and many others from the RTB team have been people I’ve looked up to. I met Kathy Morrison at the Lake Meridian swim practice, and she knew right away I was hooked! The folks at NWT&B were amazing and I was really glad to meet Frank Tomaszewski, someone I could beat (I kid Frank!).
I have two people to thank for sayings that help me push through when training hurts or the bed is cozy. I saw Phil Kriss at a wedding reception a few years back, he’d run a full marathon earlier that day. He was loading his plate veggie heavy and very sensibly. I asked him why he wasn’t just gorging, he’d run a full that day. He looked up at me and said, “Brian, it just takes a little discipline.” Powerful! Second, Alex Crampton had a great blog post that resonates with me from my Army days. When I’m in the pool and I can’t breathe and I’m floundering, I ask myself, “Can you go a little more? Can you embrace this?” and the answer is almost always yes. I can push a little more. Why do I tri? I want to prove to myself that yeah, I can go.